wow…diving into this sight now and it’s going to take awhile but amazingly, last night I had mentioned to my girlfriend that what if one could measure statistically the most common keys, chord progressions and tempos in modern pop music…could they spot trends? she looked at me, being a somewhat accomplished songwriter and her respecting my craft rather disgustingly. ‘how could you be so soulless in gathering that data…’ i remarked that it’s all part of studying a craft…that it might affect some decisions but your writing is still basically your writing. anyhow…
since you’ve been able to gather data on over 1,300 songs but have stripped some content away…i’m wondering if there’s a way to determine average tempos with a bit of a plus or minus ratio based on genre. my question stems from this…gathering data on the top licensed songs for 2014…determining the genre…then determining the average key, chord progressions and tempos. i could see where trend spotting could be extremely helpful here. pop songs are averaging this…electronic/chill songs are averaging this…etc.
Cool @minminmusic. Re: your girlfriends disgust. Everyone is always gathering data. Every musician have a back catalogue of music that they have found patterns in (whether they can articulate this or not).
The philosophical question is the motive and the use for such a bank of knowledge.
So, the only thing that i’ve found most recently on this topic was a lecture on YouTube by Ralph Murphy. He mentioned that the tempo of popular songs tend to rise and fall depending on what the masses are doing in their extra curricular activities i.e. drinking more coffee, what drugs are they taking, etc. Those decisions effect the overall heart rate of the people. Pop songs are almost exclusively over 100 BPM. Country songs being under 100 BPM. 120 BPM in the 90’s was seen as rather fast, but as time moves forward it seems as if its not fast enough. For example, Gangnam Style is a little over 130 BPM, and look at the popularity of that song! He even mentions drinking a double shot of espresso in the lyrics. Don’t be surprised to see more and more songs in the 130-135 BPM range in the future. But to answer your question, I would say between 120-130 BPM would be most successful.